This month our focus turns to international event rider and Bioflow ambassador Harry Meade. Harry joined us in 2015 and is a longstanding supporter of our products – our equine range is a valuable part of his daily regime and training.
2016 was a successful year for Harry, with lots of top placings including winning Millstreet International in Ireland.
His last win of the year was at Australia’s ‘Eventing in the Park’ in Perth in December where the first prize was a car … not an easy item to get home from the other side of the world!
This year sees Harry competing for 3 or 4 days a week throughout the UK & Europe. The early Internationals include Belton in Lincolnshire then Burnham Market in Norfolk over the Easter weekend. This is followed by Chatsworth and Rockingham in May then on to Tattersalls, Ireland, before heading to Luhmuhlen in Germany in June. It is this event that his horse ‘Away Cruising’ will be aiming for his first 4*.
Harry kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us about his eventing career.
At what age did you get into eventing?
I was born into an eventing family (my late father, Richard, won three Olympic gold medals in the ’60s and ’70s) so I grew up surrounded by horses and was riding before I could walk.
My father was keen that my brother, sister and I should ride for fun without too much focus on formal training or competing. He was conscious not to channel any of us down an eventing route unless it was what we really wanted and he also felt that natural ‘feel’ is so important in a child’s development and can be trained out of them.
Whilst my brother and sister had limited interest I was mad keen throughout my whole childhood and despite my parents’ reluctance, I was dead set on following in my father’s footsteps.
In order to get where you are currently what attributes would you say helped you?
The feel and instinct I learnt from growing up in the saddle is invaluable, they are qualities that are difficult to learn later in life. By nature I’m very inquisitive, not just in training but in everything – I ask masses of questions – I enjoy learning and having a questioning mind helps. Most of all, tenacity helps overcome the many challenges that life throws up; willpower, drive and bloody-mindedness makes most things surmountable!
Lastly, those around me have helped me enormously. Our sport is unusual as we each run our own businesses, a bit like smaller version of running a football club – we are our own managers, so arranging sessions with trainers, buying horses for ‘owners’, employing staff for the yard, fulfilling sponsorship duties, etc, mean that there are plenty of stresses aside from training and competing.
I’m indebted to my wife, Rosie, who is the real boss, and my longstanding head groom, Jess Errington, among many others.
Training is obviously a large contributing factor to your success. How long/often do you train for?
I ride 6 to 8 horses a day, which is usually about 5 or 6 hours – a mixture of dressage, show jumping, fast work on the gallops and cross country schooling. On top of that I do some core stability work each day off a horse.
Can you describe how you recover from training, do you have a specific routine product you use?
Mostly it’s a case of minimising aches and pains so I stretch before and after riding each day, and have regular physio. Given that prevention is better than cure I’m a fan of non-intrusive and easy-to-use aids like magnets. I wear a Bioflow Duo at all times, and my horses wear Bioflow magnetic boots and rugs too.
What is your greatest achievement in your career so far?
In 2013 I shattered both my arms at the elbows, resulting in five operations, months of rehabilitation lying in a bed with my arms suspended from hooks on the ceiling and needing 24 hour care for the most basic of needs. There were serious concerns over whether I’d ride again.
After a very uncertain period my first major event back was Badminton Horse Trials, our sport’s premier event, where I finished 3rd. Later that season I was part of the silver medal winning team at the World Championships.
What are your plans for the coming years and where would you like to see yourself?
I hope to be at the next World Championships in Canada in 2018. In our sport you have to think well ahead so we’re already trying to find the horse and develop a partnership for the next Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
What advice would you give to a young sportsperson entering into your sport?
Go into it knowing it’s seriously hard work and be prepared to fail plenty – but don’t let that stop you. It’s a wonderful sport and is full of great people. When it all goes right it beats anything!
Harry uses our Magnetic Boots and Rug. Our Horse Rug is currently half price at just £99. Featuring 40 powerful Central Reverse Polarity magnets in 10 repositionable pouches, the rug is great for targeting specific problem areas over the horse’s shoulder, wither, back, rump and hip areas.